Thursday, August 11, 2022

And the Good News is...

 In my previous post, I talked about my annoyance with a mother who did little to control her toddler at an animal program. The toddler was either in the way or fussy--which were not the toddler's problems but her mother's. Her mother did little to remedy the situation, and that made it a bad experience for the rest of the crowd. However, I'm happy to say that I was in another program last night and had a very different experience.

The performers sang kid's songs to an audience that had parents who were aware of the others around them. That means that when their kids were being disruptive, they did something to change it. For example, there was a 3-year-old who was delighting in running in circles around the audience. When her mother finally caught her (the little girl was fast!), the girl had a tantrum. After a short while, when it was obvious that the child could not be redirected, the mother left with her. There was another toddler/baby who wandered around the back and sides of the audience under the watchful eye of her parents. When she was going a bit too far, they would redirect her. And at one point, they took her outside because she was getting a bit fussy. I don't think either set of parents wanted to leave the concert, but they knew that that's what you have to do sometimes-especially with young children.

After the show, I had an interesting conversation with the performers. They do kid's shows for a living and many concerts every year at schools and libraries. In fact, we were their third one of the day. That means they have a lot more experience with crowds than I do. They said, by and large, the behavior of the kids and the adults at their performances have gotten much better over the last several years. I was surprised and happy to hear it. 

So that's the good news, and I will try to remember it when I get annoyed at someone in the crowd. They are the exception and not the rule.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

I Don't Understand

Sometimes I understand why people do what they do. And sometimes I don't. 

Case in point. I was in a children's program recently where the presenter talked about and showed live animals (turtles and snakes). There were lines marked on the floor where the children should sit with instructions to stay within the lines and leave room for her to walk around so everyone could see. Some enthusiastic kids had to be reminded once or twice of the rules, and one or two went to sit with their parents when the temptation to get closer to the animals was too much. And then there was the toddler who didn't want to be there.

During the program, we learned that male box turtles
have bright orange eyes while females have
duller yellow-brown eyes.
(photo from
She came into the meeting room fussing and crying. It was obvious she was tired, and it was hard for her to hold it together. She was there with her mother, an older sister, and another family. Perhaps the little girl was out during nap time so her sister could see the show. I don't know. However, the only way she would be quiet was if she were allowed to roam freely about the room. Which meant that she went to the front and stood beside the presenter, clearly in the no-go zone and in the way. I didn't expect the toddler to understand, but I expected her mother to understand. The mother would let her daughter stand in the front for a while, then join her, blocking the view of several kids. Eventually, mom would literally drag the toddler to the side, and a tantrum would ensue. Rinse, lather, repeat. So the toddler and the mother were either in the way of the presenter or making enough noise that you couldn't hear the presenter. Finally, the fussy toddler and mother were asked to go outside and invited to come back when the toddler was ready. I understand that the mother probably didn't want to leave her older daughter in the program while she stepped outside into the hallway, but they were there with another family, so the older daughter (7 or 8) had adults watching her. 

So why didn't the mother consider how her child's behavior affected the other 90 people in the room? All of the other grownups handled their kids when they were disturbing others. Some stepped outside with babies who were crying. The toddler's mom could have done the same before she was asked. Was she so used to a fussy child that she didn't think anyone noticed? Was it a cultural thing where more is tolerated from children than it is in our society? Was she just one of those people who doesn't read social cues very well? I don't really know, but I do know that I don't understand. 

Note: When Ward read this, he said that I should say that I was annoyed and frustrated with the situation because of how much I complained about it when I got home. He's right. I was really annoyed.

(Actually, there are many more behaviors that I don't understand these days, but they are much too serious to discuss here.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


I have several new electronics that are filled with more functions than I will ever need, but I'm trying to learn some of them because they are useful. But motivation is a problem because I'm old enough to have known a world before a computer was attached to everything (and it was quite a fine world, at that), so I'm not driven to be tech savvy. However, I've been trying to get out of my lazy comfort zone and embrace the new possibilities that are before me. And that's a whole lot of words to say: I tried out the camera on my new cell phone this weekend on another visit to Carroll Creek Park. More study and practice are needed, but below are a few pictures of our walk.

One end of the park is filled with kinetic sculptures that all move with the wind. This one is "The Tree of Life". 

If you look closely, you can see how it got its name.

"Rotary Lotus" The petal levels of this one turn in different directions.

"Three Little Birds" If you look closely among the leaves, you will see two flying birds on the ends of the top cross arm. The third one is perched on the lowest branch.

"Together as One"

"Water Lily with Dragon Fly"


"An Elusive Kinetic Portrait" When the angle is correct, you can see the portrait of Theophilus Thompson in the middle, the earliest documented African American chess expert. He wrote a book on chess published in 1873.

 There were many more beautiful things to see along the waterway, but I'll leave you today with just the kinetic sculptures. 

Until next time...

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Back to the Grind

We're not on vacation anymore, but we are enjoying the constant show of what nature has to offer around our house. (Allium)

In case you can't tell, our staycation is over, and I'm back to my old routines, including sporadic blog posting. I left you last Saturday wondering what we might do on Sunday. Well, I can answer that question now. Nothing very exciting except to putter around with some fun projects and watch a movie. So, I guess I would say that it was a relaxing, do-nothing last day of our staycation. Which seemed about right for us. After a few days of a vacation of going and doing, we usually need some downtime, and that was easy to do at home. Another advantage of a staycation.

If we hadn't made time to go to these places, I'm not sure we would have gotten around to doing the things we did. When I see something local that looks interesting, I put it into a folder to retrieve at a later time when we want to get out of the house. Well, the folder was getting pretty full, especially since COVID slowed down going everywhere. We made a dent in it but still have many other local places to explore.

I think there are more staycations in our future, but we're also talking about some change of scenery that would involve a long drive and what some might call a proper vacation. 

In the meantime, we are still enjoying having a working kitchen with more convenient storage and not much dust in the air. It's heavenly, actually.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Staycation, Day 3

 The original plan for the day was to relax around the house, doing things like watching a movie, working on a puzzle, playing a game (not on the computer), and going out for ice cream. But plans changed as they tend to do. Yesterday, when we were talking with the millwright at Union Mills, he mentioned that the mill there was similar to the one they have at Mt. Vernon, George Washington's Estate. So we decided it would be interesting to compare the two and maybe reinforce some of the things we learned yesterday. The added bonus was that Ward's father lives nearby, and we could visit him.

But first, we had a French toast breakfast. Another thing that we've been meaning to get around to but haven't for a year or two. No good reason except inertia. One of the motivators for this was to use maple syrup that my father made, starting with tapping the trees. It seemed too precious to use, but he made it to be enjoyed instead of taking up shelf space. So that's what we did. Enjoyed it on French toast.

Below are a few more details of the day.

In addition to the French toast, we had bacon, fresh peaches, and blueberries from Aunt Martha's patch. 

Then it was onto the grist mill at Mt. Vernon.
In the mid-1760s, George Washington changed his major cash crop from tobacco to wheat and other grains. He erected a commercial grist mill to make flour to ship to Europe. This building and the equipment inside are replicas of the original and were built on the same spot as the first one. The mill is fully operational.

The mill setup was the same as at Union Mills, except the water wheel was inside. 
Both used the very efficient Evans method.

Next to the mill, George Washington had a distillery-another good use for the grains he was growing. Like the mill, the distillery had been replicated on its original spot and was fully operational. 

Ward is examining a worm--inner, copper tubing of the still. Whiskey was the main product. BTW, a pint of whiskey made here costs $100 in the gift shop.

Next, we hopped over to my father-in-law's house for lunch and a visit.
I needed a piece of a tree trunk for a project at work, and Ward and his dad were able to help me.

Shortly after we got home, our electricity went out. Luckily, that only lasted for a couple of hours, and it gave me a chance to try out my new LED glow bracelet. It was a giveaway at a library program, and I was surprised to learn that it had a rechargeable battery.

Well, our staycation is winding down, and it's time to get back to the matters at hand. However, we still may find something fun to do on Sunday. Stay tuned...